Paranormal Activity (2007)
If you remember back in 2007, this movie comprised of supposed “found footage” was being toted as “one of the scariest movies you’ll ever see” in trailers, on blogs, and by commercials all around. Um…hardly. First and foremost, for the majority of the movie absolutely NOTHING happens. If I wanted to watch a young couple move into a house for the first time and have no idea how to decorate it, I would watch HGTV for 2 hours and I promise the same concept would come up at least 4 times. In the entire hour and half movie, you get maybe seven instances of actual scare, of something actually happening. Not to mention all of the questions that it leaves open and unanswered. If this thing has been following Katie forever, why is it just appearing now? What about the house is significant? What KIND of demon is it? I understand these were probably ploys and tactics to make it a series and keep people intrigued, but after an hour of sort of watching a door close on its own, Paranormal Activity lost me for good.
The Hills Have Eyes (2006)
This remake of the 1977 Wes Craven classic left a lot to be desired and just reaffirmed my belief that remakes are 9 times out of 10, a terrible idea. What was originally a story of an incestuous, abusive, cannibalisitic group has been warped into some sort of radioactive mutants vs. the Carter family. And in short, it’s less of a thriller and basically reduced to simply torture porn. Horror audiences these days are desensitized to violence and we’re just generally hard to scare, but simply adding as many buckets of blood and WTF moments doesn’t make a good movie. It just makes it gross. And gross doesn’t equal scary. Especially in this case.
The Hostel Franchise (2005-2011)
Along the torture/gore porn craze was the Hostel franchise, which graced the screens and our lives in the mid to late 2000s. The premise was simple enough. Hot tourists and travelers go on what seems like it’s going to be a vacation to fulfill their wanderlust, but end up in terrifying and murderous situations. Hostel’s first mistake is not giving you any characters to be invested in. Attractive but annoyingly douchey Americans who are just in Europe to get laid? Yeah…don’t care. When they end up in a club where people pay to kill and torture their victims what could be a nightmare inducing concept falls flat because we don’t really care about the main characters. And again, instead of being actually scary Hostel relies on gore to make up for lack of substance. Instead of the blood and guts being utilized in an effective way, it’s done because without it there’s nothing to the film. And I can assume the exact same thing goes on in the two sequels it spawned, but am I going to watch them to find out? Pass.
The Forest (2016)
This movie disappointed me to a degree which I’m honestly still butt hurt about. There was so much potential! Set in the infamous suicide forest in Japan (an ACTUAL place) it stars one of my favorite ladies and had the makings to have all sorts of twists and turns. Is she actually a twin? Is her twin dead? Is she insane? What really happened in their childhood? But The Forest was clearly made with little to no thought about the plot, and with the idea that the audience was not intelligent enough to keep up. They could have utilized the fact that this forest does exist, and created a completely spooky and haunting narrative. But they just…don’t. Quite simply, the movie isn’t scary at all. It’s just kind of dumb. Sorry Natalie, I still love you.
The Blair Witch Project (1999)
We have this movie to thank for the found footage craze, and I will give it the credit of being semi-revolutionary because it was a big deal when it came out in ’99. But my complaint with the overall premise and (often) problem with found footage is the same: nothing really happens. Sure; it’s an intense movie and you’re left with wondering what woods to avoid exploring late at night with a video camera. But there’s not really an immediate threat that makes you feel like you should be scared. You aren’t invested in much more than finding out who/what the Blair Witch is…and that is never really satiated. The only thing I can say about TBWP is that it gave me the idea to make some really great stick figures to freak out my neighborhood friends back in the early 2000s, and that was pretty fun.
My Bloody Valentine 3D (2009)
I’m trying to figure out what the point of this movie was, and I’m still not really sure. Maybe it was made because we were all obsessed with the idea of making 3D movies at the time. (Snore.) Maybe it was playing into the idea that remaking a movie and pumping as much blood into it as possible was a good one. (Wrong.) Or maybe it was simply because they wanted to see if “dangerous date” movies could be a thing. (They can’t.) Either way, the only thing this movie has going for it is that it was the first R-rated movie to have the technology to throw bodies at your face. But in my humble opinion, all it was was a waste of $13 and an hour and half of my life I cannot get back.
The Descent (2005)
Another movie that just left me wildly disappointed. A horror movie starring all women that ISN’T completely centered around them running and crying in a racerback tank top sans bra? Sign. Me. Up. But then the inevitable happens; there’s nothing particularly terrifying about The Descent. 99% of the scares are jump scares, so aside from the claustrophobic sense of doom there’s not really anything that leaves you incredibly scared. And there are so many questions left unanswered about the cave and the monsters the live in there. The first order of business with horror is to be scary, sure. But there should still be a story, there still should be an arc. When you create a movie without focusing on the plot and just try to freak the audience out, instead of leaving people being excited about it you leave them going, “What did I just watch?” Aka: me when the credits started rolling on The Descent.
The Ring (2002)
Say it with me: “American remakes of foreign horror movies almost never work.” Case and point: The Ring versus Ringu. The Ring has all of the makings to be a horror movie I would love. A detailed storyline, haunting versus gore, creepy kids. It sounds like a movie that I would theoretically love. But The Ring in simply a frame by frame remake of a movie that fails to be better than the original. After about the second time you see Samara you get it, and you’re not really freaked out anymore. It was a remake that wasn’t necessary when the original was already so well done. Don’t touch things that are already working, Gore Verbinski! Just don’t!
The Scream Franchise (1996-2011)
I can appreciate the Scream films for what they are; fun, easy movies to make that require little acting and even less work. But can we be done with them please and thank you? There was no need for four installments of the same idea, and DEFINITELY no need for an MTV show with the same premise. The first one was fine, the second one was whatever, but by the fourth the plot line and scare tactics were so played out it was just boring. It’s okay to let them die. Seriously it’s okay.
The Exorcist (1973)
Look. I’m all about movies that pave the way and do things that no one has done before and all that jazz. Seriously, I am. And I recognize The Exorcist for what it was in 1973. But does it continue to live up to the hype? No. No it doesn’t. The fact of the matter is that some movies are revolutionary and continue to be for years and years, and some don’t. And this movie happens to be the latter. But, that being said, that fact doesn’t mean we should remake it. Let’s just appreciate it for what it was, and let it go. No need to make a gore porn version, okay Hollywood? Okay.